Japanese tea is typically steamed (as opposed to oxidized or fermented), thereby preserving its green colour, excellent health benefits, and unique taste profile. See the most common (and very unusual) types of tea we have in our selection.
A classic amongst Japanese teas. It is usually the one that comes to mind when thinking about green tea. It is grown in planes as well as mountainous regions without shading. It can be either lightly steamed as asamushi for less than 30 seconds, or deeper steamed as fukamushi for over a minute to bring out more umami and astringency. It can be blended with a variety of tea leaves and cultivars, or kept as a single estate tea. Typically it is harvested one to two times per year, but can yield up to four harvests from the same field. The first harvest is considered the most delicious. The taste ranges significantly by terroir, processing, and steeping method -- which can be enjoyed both hot and cold.
Our Sencha is a single estate tea, the cultivar a Yabukita variety, and processed as asamushi. It is organically grown in the mountains of Shizuoka by a 14th and 15th generation farming family.
Genmaicha is a tea with added toasted rice. Typically, a lower grade Sencha or Bancha is used that includes larger leaves and stalks. The toasted rice gives the tea a delightful and nutty flavour, and balances out any bitterness or astringency.
For our Genmaicha we use high quality single estate Sencha leaves that would be delicious on their own. The rice is grown in the Shigeta family’s own rice paddy in very small batches which they maintain for the Genmaicha.
Takuya and his mom also recommend sprinkling the tea leaves and rice pops after steeping on various dishes as they taste excellent.
Our kamairi (ancient Chinese pan-frying technique) Yamacha is a truly rare find even in the world of Japanese teas. It directly translates to ‘mountain tea’, and it grows wild in the mountains of Miyazaki, Kyushu. Specific to this area only, the local community hand-picks and creates this unique tea is made using the kamairi technique, which was used before Japan developed their steaming technique in the 16th century.
It is naturally pesticide and fertilizer-free, and the tea cultivar is zairai (a wild tree) that grows in the highland forests. The tea yields different flavors depending on the harvest location and season.
Hojicha is a roasted tea, usually Bancha or Sencha, made from leaves from the second harvest or later. It often includes larger leaves and stalks. It has more astringency, as the plants have been exposed to the sun longer.
Roasting the initially steamed green tea over high heat brings out a beautiful brown colour and balanced flavour. Traditionally, Hojicha is drunk after meals especially in the evening as its caffeine levels are very low.
Our Hojicha is made from high quality Sencha leaves grown in the Kyoto region, and then blended into a balanced flavour. We supply powdered hojicha that is very versatile, which makes it perfect for cooking, baking, or drinking it as a latte.
Matcha is probably the most famous and highly regarded of all Japanese green tea. It is a powdered green tea, and one of the oldest tea types that has been used in the traditional tea ceremony for centuries. Unlike teas where the leaves are steeped, matcha consists of the entire tea leaf that has been powdered and then whisked in hot water. The cultivation and production process also differ from the classic teas -- Tencha is grown shaded to achieve a balance in flavours. The leaves are immediately steamed, dried, and ground to a powder. The blends are often kept secret and vary by season and year.
Especially for matcha the various quality grades stand out: ceremonial grade premium (exquisite formal tea ceremonies), casual grade (but excellent quality), and culinary grade (baking and confectionery).
These are the factors that affect quality and taste:
1. Tea shading timing
2. How much work is done by hand
3. Harvest timing (first or last)
3. The processing
4. How it is ground (traditional and industrial, with the yielded amounts varying greatly)
Our Matcha is an organic ceremonial grade premium matcha grown in the Kirishima Volcanic Mountains of Makizono in Kagoshima. It is processed and slowly ground in a traditional stone mill in Uji according to a secret blend recipe.